Important Information Regarding Potential Transition to Temporary Distance Learning1/7/2022
Dear PPS Community,
As we shared last night, the rapid rise in COVID-19 cases driven by the Omicron variant has contributed to a dramatic rise in absences of students and staff across our schools this week.
This increase in absences adds a burden to our already compromised capacity, due to the finite number of substitute teachers and central office staff available to fill the remaining unfilled positions. These groups of employees are also being impacted by COVID-related absences. The ability to fully staff and safely operate our schools is a key factor that has resulted in the very difficult decision to temporarily transition two of our schools, where COVID cases are high, to distance learning.
We want to be very clear: our goal is to keep our school buildings open and maintain in-person instruction so we can surround our young people with the caring educators and support services they need – as long as we can do so safely.
As we shared last night, district leaders meet regularly with local health officials to monitor the COVID-19 situation, and we are closely tracking data to determine COVID’s impact on staff coverage in schools. If your student’s school cannot open safely due to COVID’s impact on staff coverage in schools, we might need to make the difficult decision to temporarily transition to distance learning. It is important to be aware that there is a rising number of COVID cases in our region and that there is currently a backlog to determine staff or students who need to isolate or quarantine; our COVID-19 dashboard will continue to be updated as information becomes available.
In the event your school community has to transition to temporary distance learning, here is what you need to know:
Schedule & Learning Resources
In the event of a temporary transition to distance learning, principals and teachers will contact students and families directly with more information about daily schedules, academic and extracurricular activities. To give students and families a sense of what this will look like should it be necessary, please see these guidelines. Direction and guidance is continuing to be refined and improved, so please watch for school- and teacher-specific instructions should your school need to transition to temporary distance learning:
Day 1: Transition Day
After receiving notification that your student’s school will transition to temporary distance learning, please know that the first full day following that notification, students will be able to access featured content) posted on the learning systems (Canvas or SeeSaw) so educators can plan for the transition to distance learning. Schools will set up and staff a help desk for students and families to access technology and digital resources.
Preschool (PK)/Early Learning:
Preschool teachers will meet synchronously with students for morning meetings and small group instruction. Families will have access to our PK Remote Learning website, designed to provide families with age-appropriate activities to engage 3-5 year olds in home learning during our COVID-19 closure. Your student’s teacher will contact you with more information about a daily schedule and learning activities.
Teachers will meet synchronously with students. Teachers will provide whole class and small group instruction, as well as prepare independent work for students. Your student’s teacher will contact you with more information about a daily schedule and learning activities.
You will also have access to our PPS At-Home Learning Website, designed to provide families with grade-appropriate practices to engage students in home learning after completing teacher-assigned work.
Teachers and classes will meet remotely via Google Meet or Zoom during their regularly scheduled class time. Your student’s teacher will contact you with more information about a daily schedule and learning activities. Our plan is to keep the same schedule virtually as if students were on campus. For example, students will plan to attend each of their class periods, virtually, at the same time as if they were on campus.
All extracurricular activities will be temporarily paused including athletics and performing arts during this time. This includes competitions between schools in the PIL where one school is in temporary distance learning and one school is continuing with in-person learning.
We are prioritizing access to essential services during distance learning. This includes nutrition services, our on-campus health centers, teen parent centers, and technology support for students.
Breakfast and lunch will be offered to students for pickup while students are in temporary distance learning. School specific information, including pick-up times and location, will be shared by your school.
This year, students have been issued a PPS Chromebook as part of our 1:1 Chromebook Take Home Initiative. If a student still needs a device, please contact your school to be issued one for your student.
Additionally, PPS technical support will remain available to families and students during this time. If you need to contact the support desk, you can do so by either sending an email to email@example.com or calling our support line at 503-916-3375.
Our health centers will remain open. Any students in grades K-12 who live or go to school at PPS. Please visit Multnomah County’s website for more information, including location and hours of operation.
We are mindful of the significant impact that comes from moving a school to temporary distance learning. Please know we want to keep as many of our students in school as possible, as nearly two years of research shows that school is the best place for them to be academically, socially, mentally, physically, and emotionally. However, where we cannot offer sufficient staffing to continue on-site instruction in a safe environment, we will have to implement temporary distance learning until we can reopen.
We appreciate your patience as we navigate these difficult times in our community. If you have any questions, comments or concerns, please reach out to us via Let’s Talk. Please click on “Temporary Distance Learning,” and someone from our central office team will be in contact as soon as possible.
Portland Public Schools